Preston city center location approved for new Preston Youth Zone
Preston City Council today approved a site near the downtown bus station for the new youth zone.
Built as part of the £ 20.9million Towns Fund project, the Preston Youth Zone will see a facility created for Preston youth between the ages of eight and 19.
The site, adjacent to Lord Street, meets the criteria for locating successful youth zones by providing a prominent but neutral location, easily accessible by public transport and of an adequate size for the proposed development.
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John Chesworth, Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Preston City Towns Fund, said: “The approval of the land by Preston City Council and the continued partnership with OnSide is the next critical step in creating a much needed youth zone for Preston.
“This is an important project within the framework of the Cities Fund investment program.
“It is essential that Preston has the capacity to support young people, provide them with a safe space, provide skills and advice as well as create more jobs and volunteer roles in the downtown area.
“We will work closely with OnSide and our partners to ensure this great space is created for Preston. “
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The national charity OnSide, which has a network of 14 similar youth zones across the UK, has been working with local Preston partners for several years to develop a youth zone in Preston.
They successfully submitted a proposal as part of the Preston Towns Fund offer which was accepted by the UK government earlier this year.
The Preston Youth Zone will offer young people advice on skills, career and employment. It will also be an opportunity to discover new passions, to make friends and to thrive in an inclusive, welcoming and exciting environment.
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The facilities will include:
- Four-court sports hall
- 3G outdoor kick pitch
- Gym, boxing and martial arts
- Music room with integrated recording studio
- Arts and Crafts Space
- Climbing wall
- Dance studio
- Sensory room
- Educational kitchen
- Rooms for carrying out projects in areas such as business and employability.
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The Youth Zone aims to support around 4,000 young people. It will also create 70 permanent jobs, including 35 full-time equivalents.
Councilor Matthew Brown, Head of Preston City Council, said, “The Youth Zone is a high priority for our city. I am proud that the board can step in and provide the necessary land in a good location to allow this exciting project to move forward.
“This project will support youth, give them access to positive activities to do in their community and improve their health and well-being, boost their aspirations into adulthood, and support community cohesion and a vibrant downtown Preston.” .
“While this is a vital next step, we continue to look to Lancashire County Council for much needed support for the ongoing income costs of the Youth Zone. “
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Preston Youth Zone is one of six projects included in the Harris Quarter Towns Fund’s investment program.
The Regeneration Program, which focuses on culture, recreation, housing, infrastructure, community and education through downtown regeneration, is part of the City of Preston Investment Plan.
While some of the initial funding will come from the Towns Fund, OnSide will raise funds for the remaining construction and operating costs from a range of trusts, grants, private sector contributions and philanthropy.
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Guy Topping, Chairman of the Preston Youth Zone Committee said, “This is a really exciting step for the Preston Youth Zone.
“We have been passionate about delivering this product for several years now. It will be a place that the young people of the city deserve.
“I want to thank everyone who participated in the Towns Fund Bid and the board that brought us to this point and I urge everyone in Preston to support the project.”
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